Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Illamasqua Seduce Cream Blush
Illamasqua Seduce Cream Blush

Illamasqua Seduce Cream Blush

Illamasqua Seduce Cream Blush (£16.50 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “warm rose pink” with a “dewy finish.” It’s a medium-dark raspberry pink with warm undertones and a dewy finish. It can be very opaque if you wish it to be, but it is blendable if you want softer, sheerer color (and I caution you to use a dab at a time). It reminded me of MAC Mighty Aphrodite, perhaps blended. MAC Amazon Princess is a bit darker, redder. MAC Full Fuchsia is darker, pinker. Bobbi Brown Plum is darker, redder.

Seduce wears six to seven hours on my skin, which has been normal-to-dry but closer to normal than dry (no dry patches, despite the winter temperatures!). The finish is softly dewy; it’s not slick, shiny, or oily-like in any way, but it will give the skin a glowy look. If you are very sensitive to “glow,” then this may be too much for you. I expect it will be a welcome glow for most, though. The texture of the blush is creamy and soft, and once applied, it feels like it melts against the skin, so it looks natural and doesn’t feel heavy. It also worked well over and under foundation without caking or looking patchy.

The Glossover

P
product

Seduce

B+
I can see why Illamasqua's Cream Blushes are popular; the wear is good (but it has some room for improvement), and the color is buildable and blendable, which are really two must-have characteristics of a cream blush.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Top 10 of 2011: Lipsticks & Lipglosses

Whew — this was difficult!  I ended up having to lump some of the new-for-2011 formulas into a single pick, even though there were lots of shades I loved!   These are products I reviewed and discovered in 2011, some being part of a brand’s permanent range and others being new/limited edition shades that we saw over the past months.  I guess you could say I gravitate towards reds…

  1. Hourglass Siren Extreme Sheen Lipgloss
  2. Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors
  3. Guerlain Rouge Automatiques
  4. Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses
  5. NYX Chic Red Round Lipstick
  6. NARS Damage Lipstick
  7. Guerlain Garconne Rouge G Lipstick
  8. Dior Nocturne Rouge Dior Lip Color
  9. Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick
  10. Giorgio Armani #406 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

What was your favorite lip product this year?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Lacquer
Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Lacquer

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Lacquer

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Lacquer (£13.50 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “sheer light grey” with a jelly finish. I loved this shade from the moment I applied it; this was actually my nail color of choice when I went to NYC for Fashion Week this past September (it had been raining quite a bit, so it seemed totally appropriate). It’s a semi-sheer, light stormy gray with flakes of light gray shimmer. I used two coats for swatches, and as expected, you can see the nail line, but I have worn it with three and four coats, and it is more opaque at that level. I couldn’t think of anything like this shade.

Illamasqua’s formula is one of my top five favorites, because it wears like iron. I wore Raindrops for my trip, which means I was nowhere near nice or delicate with my nails, as I was hauling heavy luggage and heavier camera equipment over a week. I didn’t even end up removing the polish for ten days after I had applied it, and there was hardly tip wear, like just barely. The formula has a great consistency so it flows evenly across the nail bed, and it’s not thick at all, so if you prefer more opaque color, you can easily wear three or four coats without compromising the integrity of the wear.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

A+
It's a great shade to wear during the fall/winter and even into spring, as it's light but stormy, and the name is totally appropriate during the rainy seasons! The wear is fantastic; no chips, barely any tip wear!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush
Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Cream Blusher Rude ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “warm peach pink” with a dewy finish. I didn’t detect any pink in the pan, and on my skin, it seemed more orange than anything else. When blended out, it looks more peach-orange (and not to worry, it doesn’t have to be as fierce applied as it appears in the pan). Perhaps on those with more obvious pink undertones, it will look less peach-orange and more peach-pink. If you apply Rude very subtly, it compares to Urban Decay Indecent but without the shimmer (and I’d say Urban Decay Bang is too dark and orange-y).

It definitely has a dewy finish, and it’s almost on the wrong side of dewy, even on my normal-to-dry skin; luckily, it skates that thin line and manages to be a glowy dewy rather than an oily dewy. You can also take down the dewiness by dusting translucent powder on top. This product is buildable and very, very blendable; the creamy, melt-on-your-cheeks consistency enables that, so it is impossible to overdo it, but if you like your blush darker, you’ll likely do better by building up the color in layers.

The texture, despite its creaminess, feels featherweight against the skin; it’s thin, comfortable to wear, and doesn’t feel greasy. It wears around seven hours on bare skin before it seems to reach its limit at eight hours (where it appears faded). Over foundation, it wears five to seven hours, depending on the quality of my underlying skin; if it’s drier, then it tends to cling to patches over time, so it’s manageable for five hours or so, but if my skin is more normal, then it lasts just over seven hours. What I really liked was that it looked and felt good over and under foundation, and many cream blushes have a tendency to work best on bare skin–and let me tell you, my skin is nowhere near good enough to be wearing full makeup and skipping foundation.

The Glossover

P
product

Rude

B+
I can see why Illamasqua's Cream Blushes are popular; the wear is good (but it has some room for improvement), and the color is buildable and blendable, which are really two must-have characteristics of a cream blush.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Force ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “deep electric blue.” It’s a really rich, cornflower blue with a creamy finish, and it even has a faint purpleness to it. It almost looks purple in certain lighting–more royal blue than electric blue to me! Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like is similar but bluer. Essie Declare Your Denim is a bit darker and bluer.

It’s opaque in two coats, and like many Illamasqua shades, the formula is excellent; the polish flows across the nail easily, doesn’t streak or bubble, and never feels too thick. Illamasqua is one of the longest wearing polishes on me; I can wear their formula for ten days or longer and only have minimal tip wear, which is just barely on the edges. When I travel, I often reach for an Illamasqua shade, because I know it will hold up to the vigors of traveling.

The Glossover

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product

Force

A+
This is such a vibrant shade of blue that even though it leans cool-toned, it will work well on both cool and warm complexions. It has a lot of depth, even though it's a cream, and the excellent wear makes it even better!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?